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I've been reading some of the links from Sam's
1. People who are terrified of MS should look
around more. Other companies can co-opt as
easily and will if it's legal. The obsessions
with Microsoft are blinding and naive.
2. RSS's big political problem is not Dave,
or Sam. It is the lack of a legal controlling
authority. RSS, like early HTML and other
aspects of the web, was fielded witlessly.
It's been enjoyable reading. People tossing
the ecosystem metaphors around would do well
to learn more about biological ecosystems. They
are not efficient, they are not just, and they
can collapse without much warning and no recourse.
Nature is cruel. That is why these systems are
not ecosystems and why earlier writers only
use that as a metaphor.
Nature offers no guarantees and keeps only
strict promises about energy and survival
in a local niche given the econtonal exchanges
at boundaries. Nature is not ever-improving.
It can scuttle like a crab, wastes time on
lots of dead ends, and perfectly viable systems
can be extinguished in a single lifecycle if
they cannot adapt to an environmental change.
Human systems use human judgement.
From: Danny Ayers [mailto:email@example.com]
>Depending on the conclusions you draw from the above, Dave has either
>demonstrated his openness to progress or bowed to the inevitable :
>"Tentative endorsement of Echo"
Such things may be or may not be inevitable. It may
come down to the legal firepower, at least in the States,
one wants to use. The outcomes of the court ruling
on the distribution of Java by MS is that while MS
cannot be compelled to distribute Sun Java, it being
a Sun product, neither can MS replicate it. It seems
to come down to one cannot simply co-opt the work of
another in the States. Yes there is C# but one would
have a tough time making that stick. What is certain
is that one cannot co-opt a brand.
The case for RSS is muddy, no doubt, and
leaving personalities aside, no one will stop echo,
even if it is clearly co-opting RSS. The side
effects of all of this aren't certain either.
At the end of the day, Sam Ruby is an IBM employee
and Dave Winer is a UserLand employee. Given that
court ruling, companies may find themselves in the
position of either discouraging their employees to
work on open source projects or specifications that
have no clear owners, or in encouraging them
to dominate them completely. Given the risks in
either strategy, it is safer to discourage it and
to pursue proprietary alternatives or only work within the
contexts of W3C-like consortia with clear policies
and clear ownership.
It comes down to wikis are easy, wikis are fast,
but wikis are risky. I am reminded of the
sage advice one gets in the music business about
co-authoring songs: get all the details in writing
up front. Otherwise, it will come down to who can
afford the most legal services if it's a hit. Don't
count on the fount of human kindness at that point.
Money changes everything. Been there.
Nothing stops a vendor or anyone else for that matter
from screwing around with a spec; one can stop them
from co-opting it but only if one has some proof
of ownership. No one can cry 'standards!!!'
in the case of RSS because there ain't one.